You may chose to be who you want to be, or you may let others choose for you. In America we have that option, but it is not a universal condition in this world. Too many in America believe they have no choices; they are unable to see options beyond their current fate. I wonder what magical variable in humanity allows some to see clearly the many paths before them, while others are convinced there are only barricades and obstacles?
I’ve heard some say it is poverty that creates this terrible blindness to the future, but I am not convinced of that. For if it was poverty, then men like Cornelius Vanderbilt or Andrew Carnegie would never have become among the richest men on earth. So I don’t think poverty of funds as a child is what limits our ability to see a future brighter than today.
Others have said racism and discrimination destroy our young and hold back our futures so that no other options are ever possible. Again, I am hard pressed to understand that. Are we to say that racism and discrimination today are worse for African-Americans than it was for Martin Luther King, or Josephine Baker? Yet these two, and untold others have succeeded well beyond their peers, or even those who have held them in contempt?
Still others say it is the breakdown of family and a strong father figure, but John D Rockefeller’s father was mostly absent, and Franklin Roosevelt’s has been described as remote. Granted Franklin was born to a life of privilege, but what drove him to succeed despite the hardships he faced, when he could have just as easily sat with his wealth and bemoaned his misfortune that Polio should strike him!
I don’t know what that unique human spark may be, but I do know that not one of the examples I used had Government reach down and pull them from their struggles to make them a success in life, they accomplished what they accomplished despite the disadvantages they faced and within the framework of time and the nation they lived in. They did not sit around waiting for success, they sought it out and pursued it with their entire being. In each case success was what they defined it to be, not what others defined for them. In some cases it was wealth and the power that goes with it, in other cases if was a thirst for equality or a desire to shape a future, in another it might be the need to create art.
Humanity may fall into a bell shaped curve when we measure any aspect, whether it be wealth, fame, physical well-being or self esteem. There will always be a few at the very top, a few at the very bottom, and a majority clustered around the center. As much as it would seem nice for government to make everything perfect; we cannot demand, nor should we desire, Government to alter that curve. For no matter how much we want everyone to succeed, if they don’t have a personal desire to do so they won’t and no government program can alter that outcome, in fact if we leave it to a government bureaucrat to define success we will come away with the most mediocre definition possible.
My expectations for government would be simple. Provide a fair tax rate for all its citizens, from the poorest to the richest. One rate, regardless of how much or how little you make. Require a balanced government spending to live within the funds available. Provide those services appropriate to the federal government as defined by the constitution. By the way, when did we decide we couldn’t amend the Constitution? If you want universal health care, as I want a balanced budget, then we should amend the Constitution to require it. That would put the issues to bed once and for all, although prohibition taught us we could unamend the Constitution as well. The problem with amendments is it requires consensus and as the last six years has taught us that is next to impossible to achieve anymore.